Community presentations are one of the most effective ways to promote your funeral home and educate groups of people about the benefits of funeral service, planning and funding. When combined with your other marketing efforts, presentations can help establish you and your funeral home as a trusted resource and increase brand loyalty with families, businesses and media in the community.
During the coronavirus pandemic, funeral professionals have shifted to online presentations to help share the benefits of planning ahead while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Although the format has changed, many of the best practices for an in-person presentation still apply to presentations offered via webinars. Here are some dos & don’ts to consider for your next community presentation.
Do Know Your Audience.
Tailor presentations to appeal to the interests and demographics of your audience. Are you presenting to people in your community who may be considering advance funeral planning for themselves? Or educating a group of young professionals so they can discuss the benefits of preplanning with their parents? Adapting messages to target the specific needs of your audience will help increase active participation and result in a more positive experience for all.
Do Promote Your Event.
If the online presentation is open to the public, include a brief description, time and signup information on your website and social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As your marketing budget allows, consider leveraging other options that have been successful for your funeral home, such as social media ads, direct mail or other local advertising opportunities. Generate even more interest by submitting press releases with event details to local media. And if you are offering the online presentation for a specific organization or group, simply provide them with the webinar details so they can promote it to their members.
Do Keep the Audience Engaged.
As you present the valuable information to attendees, take advantage of opportunities to interact with them by asking for questions or feedback. This is even more important when establishing relationships in an online format. Many webinar platforms offer features that help you collect questions, conduct polls and engage your audience in other ways throughout the session.
Another option to consider is offering giveaways (subject to your local regulations and the rules of the presentation platform you’re using) for items that are appealing to your audience. For example, you could provide gift cards to local retailers or restaurants that offer home delivery.
Don’t Forget to Share Your Story.
Starting the presentation by sharing your personal story will help you connect with your audience. Tell them a little about your history and explain why you joined funeral service and decided to work with your funeral provider. Provide background information about your funeral home – its history, locations, staff, services and support of the community. Highlight any unique services or qualifications of your funeral home staff. Sharing your personal story – and your funeral home’s story – will help the audience better appreciate your ongoing commitment and compassion for the needs of people in the communities you serve.
Don’t Overlook Opportunities for Guest Experts.
To bring added value and resources to your presentations, look for opportunities to partner with other local business professionals and subject matter experts. Perhaps you have a good relationship with a grief support counselor or financial planner whose services will provide additional benefits to a particular audience. Teaming up with other professionals can also help offset the cost of advertising and other promotional expenses while expanding your potential audience for the event.
Although many of us are becoming more comfortable with webinar software, it’s still a good idea to plan a quick practice webinar session to ensure all of the presenters are comfortable with the system. That way, everyone involved in hosting the event knows what to expect and can help ensure the presentation goes smoothly.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up.
You’ve invested time and money to prepare and promote these online community presentations, so remember to ask for feedback and follow up with attendees. Remind attendees that anyone who wants more information, or who has a question they’re not comfortable sharing during the webinar, can contact you directly after the presentation.
Ask attendees to fill out a survey, either through your webinar platform or through another service, and give them the opportunity to request more information and take the next steps in planning ahead. After the event, send a “thank you” to everyone who attends. It’s a simple gesture but can be very effective.
Homesteaders offers many presentation resources to help you effectively share the benefits of advance funeral planning with your community, including complete presentation kits with slide decks and promotional materials, plus a schedule of remote group presentations hosted by industry experts. Contact your account executive to learn more.
What tips do you recommend for a more successful online community presentation about funeral planning? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.